An on-the-go lifestyle always deserves the best on-the-go snacks. Whether I am running out the door for work or to hop on a plane or hike up the side of a mountain, I am always prepared with something to munch on. Sure, I could pack fruit or nuts, but I find a hearty granola bar to be the most satisfying and filling. Sometimes it is easy to find vegan bars, but they’re usually expensive or lack in flavor. This is why I love to make my own vegan granola bars whenever I have the time to.
These granola bars are the perfect combination of sweet and salty, soft and chewy, and are loaded with flavor. While you can skip it if you’d like, the dark chocolate drizzle on top and a little sea salt is absolutely delicious! It’s just the extra sweetness I need to get through a drowsy afternoon.
The other thing I love about granola bar recipes is that you can really change it up to your favorites. Don’t like walnuts? Swap the walnuts for cashews. Need extra chocolate? Skip the craisins and add chocolate chips instead. I really enjoy adding a little peanut butter or shredded coconut sometimes to change up the flavor. As long as you keep the wet to dry ingredient ratio pretty similar, you can really mix things up however you would like.
Okay, let’s dive into the recipe:
DIY Granola Bars with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
Vegan and Gluten Free
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 bar of dark chocolate
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grab a 9″x13″ baking dish and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Grease lightly with a little coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Make sure you have about 1 1/2 cups.
- Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup.
- Place the oats into a food processor and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (don’t overdo it). Stir the chopped oats into the banana mixture thoroughly.
- Stir the dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and cinnamon into the wet mixture until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very heavy and a bit wet.
- Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Use another piece of parchment paper on top and gently use your hands to evenly press the mixture flat in the dish. Make sure it is well compacted.
- Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until firm and golden around the edges.
- Place the dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and gently lift out. Place the slab on a cooling rack until completely cool. Once cool, slice into bars into 16-20 pieces.
- Place the chocolate bar in a Ziploc bag and microwave until melted (do 15 seconds at a time to make sure it doesn’t get too hot and melt the bag. Cut off a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate on to the bars. Once all of the chocolate is squeezed out, sprinkle the bars with sea salt.
- Leftovers can be wrapped up and stored in the fridge for a week, or stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks.
Eating healthy on the go does not need to be hard, expensive, or boring. When you can prep snacks ahead of time, it becomes easier to stick to clean eating. I find that when I get really hungry and don’t have a snack on me, I end up eating something full of empty carbs, like chips or candy. This helps me avoid junk food.
If you’re into oats and are looking for something delicious to prep for your morning breakfasts, check out my recipe on Blueberry Peach Crisp. Summer is the perfect time for this healthy treat!
Let me know what you thought of the recipe. What substitutes would you make? Comment below!